Despite the brevity of some YouTube videos, from a viewer’s perspective it’s hard to understand the effort that goes into each bite-sized chunk of easily digestible content. For one there’s the aspect of lighting, the camera quality and then the actual script writing to save you from sounding like a dunce. Oh and there’s also the hair and make-up because y’know, YouTube videos mean you’ll be immortalised. On the Internet. Forever. We all watch them though, from music videos to vlogs to how tos to serialised web shows and everything in between, which is why so many of us love the Google-owned video portal. Finally, if we want to show our appreciation for the makers behind all of these different sorts of videos we’ll now be able to as YouTube Fan Funding has just been introduced.
Called ‘Fan Funding’, i.e the fans effectively fund the videos, the new system works a bit like a tip jar. You enjoyed the video? Rather than giving them a subscribe or a ‘like’ on the video – or if you’ve done those things and feel that they don’t suffice – you’ll be able to send whatever amount of money you like their way to help pay for production or just to buy them a coffee. It’s really up to you. You can donate right from the video page via Google Wallet meaning you’ll have to have a Google Wallet account (with your credit card details/PayPal email/Bitcoin/whatever form of payment you like in Google Wallet’s system) but it does seem to be a worthy way to pay it forward especially given that not all of the video making folks we watch are going to be privy to thousand dollar sponsorships from companies or make anything from their videos whatsoever.
However, there some serious concerns to address. YouTube explains that although it’s called YouTube Fan Funding, they’ll get a cut. They’ll take 5% of your donation plus 21 cents so if you’ve donated a dollar, YouTube will take 21 cents + 5% (in this case it’s 5 cents) = 26 cents. There’s also no word on whether video makers outside of Australia, Japan, Mexico and the US (where YouTube Fan Funding is currently available) will have to use currency exchange to convert their fan-gifted money and therefore risk losing more money to YouTube’s policies.
There’s also the glaringly obvious fact that the little guys still aren’t going to be able to make much money from this. Admittedly YouTube Fan Funding does feel like a way for YouTube to jack up their revenue stream rather than a way to help out those whose channels are less watched but much loved. It’s clear that those with the most subscribers or fans are going to reap the most from this just because there’ll be more people preparing to throw money at them. Not that they don’t deserve it but they’re also more likely to be supported by other revenue streams (ad deals, sponsorships etc.) so that’s something to think about too.
Anyway, YouTube Fan Funding is currently available in Australia, Japan, Mexico and the US but it will be launching in other countries (and on iOS) soon.
Do you think YouTube Fan Funding is a good way to pay it forward or will the system be abused? Let us know in the comments.